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Western Alberta unemployment rate continues to decrease

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The unemployment rate in western Alberta dropped slightly for the month of November. According to numbers released by Statistics Canada on Friday, the economic region containing Grande Prairie had an unemployment rate of 10.3 per cent, down from 10.8 in October.

In November 2019, the regional unemployment rate was at 5.7 per cent. The posted regional unemployment rate is not adjusted for seasonal employment.

The area continues to have the third-lowest unemployment rate in the province, placing behind the Lethbridge-Medicine Hat region at 9.6 per cent, as well as the Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake region at 8.8 per cent.

The trend for the province overall, however, is in the other direction. It went up to 11.1 per cent in November from 10.7 per cent in October and is currently the second-highest in Canada.

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Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation Doug Schweitzer says the government is continuing to get Albertans back to work through its recovery plan to rebuild and diversify the provincial economy.

“After six months of positive job growth with an overall recovery from pre-pandemic levels of 247,000 jobs and 10,000 new private sector jobs over the last month, we have seen encouraging signs of a recovery that is a credit to small businesses across Alberta,” he says.

Alberta’s unemployment rate increased due to a decrease in employment by 10,800, as well as a labour force decrease of 1,200 people from the previous month. Full-time employment decreased by 29,400 while part-time employment increased by 18,600 over the same period.

According to Stats Canada, year-over-year, employment losses were led by the private sector, at 110,400. Public sector employment decreased by 4,100 jobs, and self-employment decreased by 8,000 over the same period.

Newfoundland and Labrador currently has the highest rate of unemployment at 12.2 per cent. The overall unemployment rate in Canada dropped slightly in November, going from 8.9 per cent in October to 8.5 per cent.

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